Going places! Revamped Élite Geography club draws enthusiastic response

Going places! Revamped Élite Geography club draws enthusiastic response

From the Kashmir dispute and the rights of UK asylum seekers to urban planning and new directions for nuclear power, members have been savouring a highly varied range of topics at meetings of QE’s Élite Geography club.

And while the club for top GCSE geographers is run by Geography teacher Helen Davies, it is, she points out, recently the boys themselves who have been providing this food for thought in a string of “absolutely excellent presentations”.

The club, which is running under a new format this year, is open, by invitation, to boys among the top 30 geographers in Year 11. Pupils from Years 10–13 are also welcome to drop in and listen to the presentations on a week-by-week open basis.

The club’s activities comprise a combination of short projects using resources produced by the University of Oxford and presentations from the Year 11 geographers.

“The purpose of this enrichment activity is to develop awareness of the world and help pupils think holistically and critically about the issues affecting it now and in the future,” said Ms Davies.

“Geography is a subject that is valued highly by universities and employers, and being involved in Élite Geography could not only improve boys’ results at GCSE or A-level, but also help them develop high-order thinking skills – such as analysis, evaluation and synthesis – that will benefit their studies more widely across the curriculum.

“The students who are taking part in it this year in its new format are just loving it.”

The year’s programme began with a trio of presentations from Ms Davies on Water Scarcity followed by a week looking at the Ethics of Global Poverty.

Since then, it has been the pupils who have presented to their peers.

Among them is Year 11’s Chanakya Seetharam, pictured right, who gave a presentation on Geography through a Marxist lens. He said: “As a keen geographer, I have never been particularly given to the perception of Geography as somehow a ‘soft’ subject. The club provides an indisputably rigorous and academic forum, in which to discuss topical geographical issues.”

Presentations in January have included:

  • Geographies of conflict: the Kashmir Dispute, given by Ady Tiwari
  • Evaluating the use of thorium as an energy source for nuclear power, from Arjun Mistry
  • Megafauna: the significance of long-term climatic changes and tropic cascades, delivered by Koustuv Bhowmick.

All these boys are in Year 11.

Pictured, top, is Year 11’s Saim Khan, speaking about Mitigating the impacts of solar hazards. Other previous topics this academic year were delivered respectively by Year 13 pupils Jai Patel and Thanojan Sivananthan: The rights of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK and Contemporary urban planning.